In sun setting trees swooning
An ageing man’s heart
In sun setting trees swooning
An ageing man’s heart
I am the moment
The sole inventor of paradise
Awkward and perishable
The most neglected of times
I am the moment
That mourns over its temporariness
There’s an idea in Japanese culture which suggests that true beauty can only be achieved through imperfection, as its opposite is unattainable.
It is time to tidy up your life !
into your body has leaked this message,
No conscious actions, no broodings
Have brought the thought upon you.
It is time to take into account
What has gone and what has replaced it.
Living your life according to no plan.
The decisions are numerous and
The ways to go are one
You stand between trees this evening;
The cigarette in your cupped hand
Glows like a flower.
The drizzle falling seems
To wash away all ambition.
There are scattered through your life
Too many dreams to entirely gather
Through the soaked leaves, the soaked grass,
The earth-scents and distant noises
This one thought is re-occurring:
lt is time to take into account what has gone,
To cherish and replace it.
You learnt early enough that celebrations
Do not last forever.
So what use now the sorrows that mount up?
For love, is both present and gone
Neither perfect nor complete.
The oceans rolls happily you,
Naked enough at the bed
To be my archangel
Playing with Possums in tropical waters
Keeping me spirited forever
Long before the morning sunrise
Long before stepping stones appear
Back to semi-consciousness
You then morph to an octopus
As sunlight hits my eyelids
As the poly-chlorinated byphenyl sea rolls out over
My muddled brain.
for Bartók. Our paths meet in music – Bartóknak. Útjaink találkoznak zenében
which are interminable. – amelyek végeérhetetlenek.
Old trams counters the heartbeat – Régi villamosok egy ütemben dobognak a szívveréssel
outside my hotel – a szállodámon kívül
both are full of light – mindkettő csupa fény
late at night across the Liberty Bridge – késő este a Szabadság hídon keresztül
with the Danube in flood high on – a Duna vize magas
their pillars. – a lábaikon.
Two girls behind me – Két lány mögöttem
fuelled by love in the walkway – táplálva a szeretettől az úton
laughing in youth – ifjan nevetve
whilst I’m searching for – míg keresem
Béla Bartók that radical – Bartók Béla az a radikális
fundamental mixer – alapvetően felkavaró
fixing the past for the future – rögzítette a múltat a jövőért
tutor of the revolution – tanára a forradalomnak
rolling the renamed streets – ameny gördítette az átnevezett utcákat
scratching the free world. – belevájva a a szabad világba.
My heart is still in the past – A szívem még mindig a múltban
when the red star was ruby bright – amikor a vörös csillag rubint fényes volt
top of the parliament dome – a parlament kupola tetején
poor light river fog, man with an accordion – kevés fény a ködös folyón, férfi egy harmonikával
playing Magyar parasztdalok – Magyar parasztdalokat játszik
horses, hats, long coats contrast against the – lovak, kalapok, hosszú kabátok, háttérként
Central European darkness. – a Közép-európai sötétség.
The guard at the car-park has – Az őrnek a parkolóban
the red fire face of a drinker – vörös ar arca mint egy iszákosnak
and no knowledge of this land’s greatest son – és nincs tudomása Bartókról
I finally find him next to Solti – végül megtalálom Solti mellett
marked by a chisled bass clef – jelölve egy faragott basszus kulccsal
and overgrown with conifer – és benőtte a tűlevelű
there’s a fragment of a red star – van rajta egy töredéke egy vörös csillagnak
and no flowers. – és nincs virág.
With special thanks to Sara Vitrai for the Hungarian translation.
I look for you in a crowd
You are not to be seen
Only a wave
Of salt-white faces
Images on a screen.
Someone distant: Can it be?
A trick, a ﬁgment,
A simple longing of the mind
You won’t come.
I feel the gap you’d closed
Spring open with the force
Which cracks when comfort
Tumbles from its cosy latch.
Then you appear
Half an hour late: apologies,
A good excuse.
My longing turns to irritation
And then to longing again
None of this is proof of love
Nor is it to be denied.
For Edward in response to his poem ‘Please do not hurt me’.
O’ child there’s a cluster of stars that will guide your way
Long after the cruel machinations of this world has gone
Where the mind of love will protect you, through the pain of loss
Don’t be afraid, feel this hand of trust, this implicit knowing
Know there is a river of time, of life for those who follow,
this same cluster of stars I see in you.
A poem by my son Edward, after reading John Boyne’s children’s book The Boy at the Top of the Mountain.
Please do not hurt me, I’m only a child
In this train station all alone
No one to love me,
No one to help me
Everyone is just ignoring me
Making me feel alone
Really in a struggle
Really in a mess
Running to find food and panting breathlessly
As I push through the crowd
Only me sitting there
And only me living there
Trying to find some one to care for me.
He ties the edge of the deep ravine
in breathtaking terrain
with a finger that points beyond
the common bridleway.
He stumbles on before me
through an unoccupied country
hollering to get up there,
the sweeping cliff tops
in silence and a stillness
as the past and present gathers us for tomorrow.
He takes us along this tunnelling
in dark knowledge
and human need
where thoughts becomes rift valleys,
a glacial melt, drifting
before the plough, springing
in still water,
where peak mountains quake percussive
with clouds picking out
He leads us upwards through rocks
stepped by danger and discomfort
on the wind’s meandering path
and I, the prodigal son,
following in the extremes,
with distant memories,
love him so.
for my father
Two Hungarian poets towering
Over my inadequate tongue
Penning the pain
The hunger of
Beyond the gates of nirvana
Matter with all its dimensions
like snowﬂakes, will be melted down to images,
and images into the nothingness
from which they ﬁrst emerged.
This is your end and borderland,
the ﬁnal twist that fate
will ever knot around you. Here all lines
must stop and the entire scope of your consciousness,
like a napkin of intricate ﬁne lace,
be folded back in and upon itself.
This is ﬁnality of angles and
very last bowing out of here and there.
Haze and smoke will begin to cover everything:
ﬁligree webs of intermeshed perceptions,
grains of cognition, threads of body’s functions,
All chains of longings, spores of fulfilment, will evaporate in mist, like morning dew.
Blow on this dandelion,
spread it’s seeds on the wind
I’ll rest in your hand while you’re dying
Your time of times has come,
now is the last of your moments
now you must pass forever out of time.
The future recoils as you approach to catch it in your hand
Hope gets glimpsed, if at all, in heralding and afterglows
Love brushes your cheek before you know who is there
The blue butterfly disappears in the twinkling behind the eye.
Earth smells rising up,
Weeks of rain unbinds
This winters meadow, under
Foot left sleeping there
In groves, I knew him once
Coaxing fruit or yielding
Some esoteric scheme
Stirring the inside, out of life.
The city closing in could not
Subvert my longing to be lost
In this unpathed garden
Walking with you, alone
And we have so little time
Amongst the fading light but
While I can take these steps,
I’ll embrace the light in you.
Maybe our souls do
Mingle when together
Our bubbling blood
The crown of passion and it’s bearer
We returned into the familiar world
Into the lost garden
For a moment we took our place
The immense need for air
Noting the difference, the surprise
Of the turn where my fingers slip
The press of your weight brings me to ecstasy.
And there is no choice about pain,
Knowledge is pain
Although we could live again
Without history, without fear
In memory of Colin Vearncombe, his sonorous voice still resonates across the void…
In the new world
Distance our history
You stand on another peak, illuminated
in the bracken pointing
your 35mm camera
the wind it brushes your hair wildly
everything else fades
into the distance.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars
These drains haven’t yet dragged
my body into them. The sewer’s sluices
and stenches haven’t yet doused my fire.
My heart is still whole and hopes soars high
high enough, at least, to look to the stars,
to pen this poem.
The night keeps my body awake
to the mosaic of time. The rekindled faith,
that forges our reunion to come.
If I am honest gardening is one of my least proficient skills. But I want to start again, where I left off as a child, becoming lost in myself to the garden. By this I mean I remember how I used to look at the garden then in a way that I forget myself. There is no self in meditation and there is no self involved in gardening. This being is the true communion of nature. Nature will always be the first and last love of life.
In the middle of the front garden is the monument of time, the Monkey Puzzle tree. A tree native of South America but resides here and now in Southern Ireland. It is said that it lives for a 1000 years and this is my longing for this tree, to live long past my years, to be loved for generations to come after me. It give a true perspective of nature’s perennial philosophy. Survival.
And in the back garden the vegetable plots lies waiting for the season to come, the new seeds of life that will wait patiently in the ground for the conditions to be right. It is here that my children will continue to grow the fruits of our labour. Every new leaf will shadow over my ecstatic wrinkled hands, toiling for a generous crop. And nature gives generously. Nature will teach me to be the constant gardener.
On the other side of the river,
She sees me, smiles and waves.
She cups her hands.
Standing on this side, I wave too, smiling back.
Though I can’t make out her face,
I know her. I know I know her.
Somebody once very close.
‘Selma is that you?’
Approaching me she becomes the water between life and death
But I can’t be sure who
Or which of us is alive.
‘Selma is that you? Just give me your hand
No you won’t fall
You’re safe and now
the other one
Hold on tight with both hands
The camps have long gone, the soldiers have left
Fear is but the shadow of the past
Far shall we go and high
and nothing will pull us apart
Clear skies and hills overlooking the sea await us
And my guide took me by the hand
and led me
into a darkness that was not a darkness and
into a silence that was not a silence
And paused and said in a voice as quiet as running water
‘You have come from a country where truth
is so trammelled up in clever
that only opacity is praised and prized
by the blind
And faithless fools
But if you will listen and open up
I shall teach you about truth transparent and pure
as the wind and as impossible to pin down as light.
I listened and was kissed by the light.
Sylvia, I knew your Daddy, the bastard that lives in me
Neglecting each tear that rolled down your face
Feeling cheated by his coldness, he’s gone from your life,
Though lingering like the dead insect against your windscreen
in the December rain,
Like you I dream at night that I am old before my time
Being pulled towards my grave
I take one last breath and die.
Young woman’s story
brings on tears, dissimilar
yet familiar to mine
You still haunt me, as you did then,
As we wind back the clock,
Feeding the birds,
Talking to pigeons
Disregarding notions of emptiness
Love is insistent as logic, reliable as heartbeat
Obsessive as any anorak spotting train
On a cold Thursday morning,
Yet bound by your voice
That echoes an eternity.
I guessed you’d pick up echoes –
No one else could hear
This ground-bass to mourning
This hum below the surface where the angels play.
And above the swirling stars lights our beginnings,
We were hooked then,
And in the beginning,
The calendar reminds me
of the years, days, seconds
all this while
listening to my own uncertainties,
fading jangling hypnotic
lifting the other channel, if I may
on your sonorous voice
breathing mystery into the depth
that had no belonging
before I belonged to you